Some on campus have moralistically complained that it was wrong of students to celebrate the death of bin Laden by cheering, waving American flags, and singing patriotic songs in Harvard Yard the night the news arrived. I realize Harvard students can often be disconnected from reality and that some campus leftists see no distinction between patriotism and jingoism, but good grief. But part of valuing freedom and human life is defending them from those who would replace them with tyranny and death. Sometimes this defense requires force, and sometimes even lethal force.
WYATT N. TROIA ’12
May 3, 2011
Wyatt N. Troia ’14 is a Crimson editorial writer.
On Celebrating Closure
Just after midnight Monday morning, immediately after President Barack Obama told the world that U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in a firefight, Harvard Yard erupted in a spontaneous celebration of proud patriotism and national unity. It was not just a celebration of retributive justice being served. It was one of good prevailing over evil. As is often the case on our contentious campus, the opinions of students quickly catalyzed around the event. Some argue the events of Monday morning were “hypocritical” and “decidedly anti-American” – this is simply not the case. Celebrating the closure bin Laden’s death brings to the free world is morally and unambiguously justified.
In an ideal world, nobody’s death would be celebrated because everyone would be good. Unfortunately, our world is far from ideal. Sunday’s victory was one of justice being served. At least bin Laden could mount a defense; the thousands he massacred could not. They were not soldiers or self-proclaimed terrorist leaders, and they were not killed in a 40-minute-long firefight. No, those who died on 9/11 had no idea they were being hunted, no idea their lives would be taken by a terrorist mastermind half a world away.
So to those who ask how we are different from the terrorists when we celebrate the death of bin Laden – that is the answer. Bin Laden wished to instill fear in the hearts of all the free people of the world. He knew he was perpetrating an act that invited retribution and delighted in being on the run. Bin Laden had nearly ten more years of freedom and life than his victims. In the end, he suffered the consequences of his own choice not to surrender.
RAJIV TARIGOPULA ’12
May 3, 2011
Rajiv Tarigopula ’14 is a Crimson editorial writer.